The first set of business cases for Towns Funds in Keighley and Shipley worth over £7million have been approved to proceed.
Last year it was announced that the two towns had been successful in their bids to the Government’s Towns Fund, with Keighley getting £33m and Shipley awarded £25m.
Now it's been revealed that the first £7m worth of schemes have been given the final sign-off.
First announced in late 2019, the Government’s Towns Fund scheme would see up to £25m awarded to 100 towns across the UK that were deemed to be in need of regeneration.
Although Shipley and Keighley were both named as beneficiaries, the cash was dependant on Towns Fund boards in these areas drawing up ideas that the Government felt were worth funding.
The first full business cases for the first Towns Fund projects, worth £7m, were submitted earlier this year, and have now been approved.
Projects in Keighley that have been successful include the Women Employment Project – which will establish a textile academy in the town designed to help more women into work. The project will “deliver a bespoke skills training package for local women from diverse backgrounds to their access to skilled work.” The funding will provide an annexe to an existing building in the town to house sewing machines and equipment.
There will also be funding for Keighley Creative Community Hub in the town and cash to help run the annual Keighley Art and Film Festival.
Both Keighley and Shipley will also get funding to support business to become more productive, helping them to modernise and diversify to be more competitive and to increased productivity and safeguard jobs.
Business cases are still being developed for the rest of the Keighley projects including town centre improvements, a Manufacturing, Engineering Future Technologies Hub, a Community Grant Scheme, a Keighley Skills Hub and funding for the Health and Wellbeing Centre and will be submitted to Government over the coming months.
The skills hub will likely be based in the same building as the health hub – which is currently planned for the former Keighley College site on the corner of Cavendish Street and North Street.
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “I’m delighted with the progress of the funding bids for both Keighley and Shipley Towns Funds. This money is set to make a real difference people living in Shipley and Keighley and their surrounding areas.”
Ian Hayfield, chair of Keighley Towns Fund Board, said: “This is an important milestone and I’m really keen that we keep up the momentum, so that we can really make a difference for the people of Keighley.”